The year was 1955. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was president and "Gunsmoke" was making its debut on CBS. Oh -- and Miles Standish was graduating from Montclair Elementary School. It was an innocent time to be a young teen. Standish remembers the kinds of things kids did in Montclair back then: "Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies, dancing lessons at the Women's Club, movies in the auditorium on Saturdays ...."
He remembers walking the rails on the old train tracks, playing tennis in the park and square dancing with his classmates -- kids he spent seven years with before they all scattered to continue their education. (Montera Middle School didn't exist and neither did Skyline High).
For the past year or so, Standish has been trying to locate his old classmates and plan a reunion. He's asked me to put out the word and direct classmates to the reunion page http://groups.yahoo.com/group/montclair1955. The site is cool because you can see and post old photos and leave messages for former students.
A lot has changed since the class of '55 graduated from Montclair Elementary, including an $18 million expansion that will be finished this fall. If all goes as planned, Standish and his classmates will be there to celebrate and share memories that are too precious to let fade away.
Celebrity spotlight: More buzz for B-Side BBQ and Brown Sugar Kitchen's Tanya Holland. The Oakland chef returns to "The Today Show" on Friday to kick off National Fried Chicken Day. She'll share her popular buttermilk fried chicken recipe in the 9 a.m. hour.
Around town: Happy fourth anniversary to All Things Vintage Studio -- the popular retro fashion shop at 3506 Woodruff between the Dimond and Glenview districts. Co-owners Lucinda Bald and Claudia Ellinghaus call it a "hobby gone wild" that has morphed into a treasure chest of lacy lingerie, beaded clutches, pillbox's, paintings and more. Since both women have day jobs (Bald is a teacher and Ellinghaus works as an interior designer) the store is only open two weekends a month. Check out the hours and more at www.allthingsvintageoakland.com.
Email bag: You've heard of the tea party? Joaquin Miller School teacher Christine McQueen calls her movement T-POT -- short for three pieces of trash. She says whenever you're hiking or shopping or just walking around, pick up three pieces of trash. The idea came to her after she nearly stepped on a French fry container. She saw two more pieces of litter nearby and threw all three into the trash.
"If everybody did it," she says, "think how tidy our little village could be. And if the idea spreads, the whole nation would be a lot neater, too."
Cabin fever: For anyone who's ever dreamed of owning a cabin in the woods, check this out. Realtor Mary Orfali (Highland Partners) says a part of Bay Area history is on the market right now, across from Joaquin Miller Park. It's a 1922 log cabin built by architect Thomas Boyd on land once owned by Joaquin Miller himself. The listing price is $350,000 and, while it needs work, the cabin is one of just 600-some buildings in Oakland that are deemed to have "major historical importance."